Source Questionnaire

The ESS source questionnaire consists of a collection of questions that can be classified into two main parts – a core section and a rotating section.

Until ESS Round 7, the 21-item human values scale and experimental tests used to be part of the supplementary questionnaire, which is now incorporated in the main questionnaire.

This page outlines the purpose and content of each section, while their development is documented on the Source Questionnaire Development page.

Core module

The ESS was primarily designed as a time series that could monitor changing attitudes and values across Europe. For this reason its questionnaire comprises a core module, containing items measuring a range of topics of enduring interest to the social sciences as well as the most comprehensive set of socio-structural ('background') variables of any cross-national survey. The exact number of items can change from round to round, but each question has a unique variable name to assist users working with data over time.

Rotating modules

In each ESS Round, multi-national teams of researchers are selected to contribute to the design of two rotating modules for the questionnaire. Rotating modules are selected following a Call for Proposals published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) and circulated via the European Science Foundation and relevant National Science Foundations. Applicants may apply for 'new' modules or 'repeat' ones, which allow comparisons with previous ESS Rounds.

Rotating modules for ESS Round 9 were announced in July 2016. The next Call for Proposals for ESS Round 10 Question Module Design Teams is expected to be announced in autumn 2017.

ESS Round 9 call documents for rotating modules can be found here. Note that the application procedure and details may change for ESS Round 10.

Additional information on all the rotating modules that have been included in the ESS so far, including successful applications, can be found below.


Rotating modules in ESS Rounds 1 to 9










Supplementary questionnaire

The supplementary questionnaire makes up part of the core module. It is administered after the socio-demographic questions and the rotating modules. It has two purposes:

From ESS Round 8 onwards, all countries are asked to administer the entire questionnaire face-to-face. In ESS Rounds 1 to 7, the supplementary questionnaire was presented to respondents in three alternative ways:

For more detailed information on how the supplementary questionnaire was administered in each ESS Round, please see this document.